Just What I Needed (as made famous by The Cars)

“Just What I Needed” is a song by American rock band the Cars, released as their debut single from their self-titled debut album, released in 1978 on Elektra Records. After achieving exposure as a demo, the song became a successful single for The Cars, hitting the top 30 in America.[1] Appearing on numerous compilation albums, it has become one of the band’s most popular songs.

“Just What I Needed”, like many other tracks on The Cars, originated as a demo tape recorded by the band in 1977.[1] This song first appeared in 1977 on Boston radio stations WCOZ and WBCN from the said demo tape, along with its future follow-up single “My Best Friend’s Girl”.[1] Shortly thereafter, it became one of the stations’ most requested songs.[2]

The opening riff of “Just What I Needed” was borrowed from “Yummy Yummy Yummy”, a song by the Ohio Express.[1] It also features a prominent keyboard riff performed by Greg Hawkes. The song was sung by the Cars’ bassist Benjamin Orr.

“Just What I Needed” was released as a single in 1978 prior to the release of The Cars, backed with “I’m in Touch with Your World”. The song peaked at number 27 in the US and number 17 in the UK. It also reached #38 in New Zealand.[3] The single was the Cars’ most successful of the songs on The Cars in America, with follow-up singles “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Good Times Roll” resulting in slightly worse chart positions.